Researchers in Australia have discovered a new way to fight aggressive breast cancer after carrying out a study on bee venom.
A study that was released by the Harry Perkins Institute of Medical Research said that the venom of a bee is capable of killing cancer cells.
The study was published in the Nature Precision Oncology journal.
In the study, researchers found out that venom from honeybees was added to existing chemotherapy drugs. It turned out to be more effective and efficient.
Dr. Ciara Duffy, the lead researcher of the study, conducted the research as part of her Ph.D.
She hopes that she could use the study as a treatment for the 10 to 15 percent of breast cancer patients who do not have any clinically affected targeted therapies.
In the study, she said:
We found that the venom from honeybees is remarkably effective in killing some of these really aggressive breast cancer cells at concentrations which aren’t as damaging to normal cells.
The specific cancer cells found to be the most responsive to the bee venom are triple-negative breast cancer and HER2-enriched cancer cells in the breast.
It was found in the study that honeybee venom is capable of killing cancer cells in just 60 minutes.
The best thing about this is that it does not affect normal cells, which are damaged during normal chemotherapy sessions.
In the study, researchers also found out that the venom is capable of destroying existing cancer cells. It also stops them from growing and reproducing.
The bees that were used in the study were from Western Australia.
Researchers said that the honeybees that they used are some of the healthiest bees in the world.
The bees were placed to sleep with carbon dioxide and researchers extracted the venom from each bee.
Melittin, the cancer attacking compound found in their venom, was what caught the eyes of the researchers in the study.
Melittin was created synthetically and used it to kill and treat aggressive breast cancer
Talking about the compound, Dr. Duffy said:
What melittin does is it actually enters the surface, or the plasma membrane, and forms holes or pores and it just causes the cell to die. We found it was interfering with the main messaging or cancer-signalling pathways that are fundamental for the growth and replication of cancer cells.
Dr. Duffy said that there is much needed to make this study an official type of therapy for people in the country.
Many researchers are incredibly excited about the findings of the study.
Dr. Duffy said that she is going to continue the study. She currently wants to see how much venom can be used on the human body without producing too much toxicity.